They hoped that Stormy would blow down the House of Trump, especially after the collapse of the Russia-collusion narrative and seeing Democrats’ generic congressional poll numbers. But it turns out that the 60 Minutes interview with Stephanie Clifford — the birth name of the porn actress known by the now infamous bad-weather appellation — may have all the destructive force of a summertime zephyr.
Oh, people certainly tuned in, as nothing, lamentably, sells like sex. 60 Minutes had its highest-rated program in a decade, doubling its normal viewership with 22 million watching Sunday evening. “But if you were hoping for a TV event that would do serious damage to Donald Trump’s presidency,” wrote left-wing Slate in a concession, “[Stormy] Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview was a letdown. The episode was not damning of Trump in any new ways.”
But while Slate, unsurprisingly, found Daniels credible, the traditionalist commentariat had a different take. American Thinker blog editor Monica Showalter summarized and criticized Stormy’s story. After introducing her piece with the line, “It’s said a good scandal is one a casual bystander on the street can describe in one sentence,” Showalter wonders what the storm is all about and writes:
Anderson Cooper interviewed the porn “star,” who took $130,000 in hush money from Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, to conceal a one-night stand the pair had in a hotel several [actually, 12] years ago. OK, it looks as if the hush money didn't work — we all know about the affair. Big deal. What’s more, we weren’t offered much in titillating sexual details in the 60 Minutes interview, which is what a sizable percentage of viewers were looking for. Cooper seemed most interested in whether a condom was used in the sexual encounter, which kind of gives a whiff as to how exciting this was. What we really heard was a lot about Stormy Daniels not being truthful about agreements she signed, not wanting to follow those agreements, being in league with left-wing political-machine lawyers (Cooper did have useful revelations there), and throwing out vague, hackneyed boilerplate claims about “threats.” None of this impresses.
Showalter goes on to outline how Daniels repeatedly contradicted herself. The most ridiculous example is the claim that she’s speaking out to protect her daughter from the affair’s publicity, when it’s the speaking out that created 99.9 percent of that publicity in the first place. Moreover, as Showalter points out, this all pales in comparison to what Daniels has already subjected her daughter to: having a porn-actress mother.
Showalter then draws a common conclusion: This is about money. Daniels is 40 now and showing her years, and “in porn world, her shelf life is limited,” the writer notes. Moreover, when Trump became president, Daniels no doubt realized her story just reached fed-gov-size magnitude. She surely can, for a time, monetize her infamy.
Having said this, two other facts should be noted. First, that a non-disclosure agreement was signed between Trump’s lawyer and Daniels means that something happened. Second, that something may descend to nothingburger status because Stormy freely admits that what occurred was consensual and that she’s not a victim. This isn’t #metoo but is catty enough to be #meowtoo.
One man who disagrees is former president Jimmy Carter. He theorizes that outrage for Trump’s wife, Melania, will hurt the president. While this certainly is possible, it likely hinges on Melania’s response; if she stands by her man — à la Hillary — her lack of visible scorned-woman fury should neutralize that factor.
The reality, though, is that ex-reality-TV star Trump cannot be hurt by this revelation as, let’s say, Vice President Mike Pence would be. Trump has never been mistaken for a desert mystic but has worn his sexual banners openly; all who voted for him knew he was a billionaire, New York playboy-type whose three marriages are only dwarfed numerically by his affairs. As Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson put it recently, “I bet there’s not a single person who voted for Trump on the basis of his personal life” (very entertaining interview with columnist Mark Steyn below).
Perhaps most striking about the Daniels affair is how it illustrates the Left’s hypocrisy. These are the people, after all, who defended Bill Clinton, an oleaginous libertine credibly accused of sexual assault and even rape. To grease the skids for his White House ambitions, liberals dismissed his lecherous leanings, saying, “It’s only sex,” “It’s between him and his wife” and, the truly idiotic, “Character doesn’t matter.”
Moreover, leftists are the very devolutionaries who never saw sexual mores they didn’t care about — about destroying, that is. They’ve striven to make everything once forbidden acceptable, from fornication to homosexuality to perversions of marriage to BDSM to boys claiming girlhood. They’ve infused media, entertainment, and academia with sexual imagery and messages. So, we might ask, when did they suddenly find their sexual moral compass?
It should be noted, of course, that character and sexual morality do matter — oh-so very much. But to those now complaining I would ask: Did you lobby for presidential candidates Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, or Rick Santorum? The reality is that almost all the current virtue-signalers viewed these truly moral men as anachronisms or aliens or worse. Well, fine, but then don’t complain about libertine leaders and Stormy scandals.
Daniels’ allegations largely don’t matter today because we have become a libertine civilization, where lewd “Pride” parades are annual affairs and fornication and cohabitation don’t even raise eyebrows. This, leftists, is largely your handiwork. Those who made the sewer now complain about the stink.
They also have no business casting aspersions on Trump voters for “supporting such a man.” Elections aren’t a choice between an angel and demon, but between flawed human beings. And as Carlson put it in the above video, “If you’re a Trump supporter ... you knew exactly who Donald Trump was when you voted for him. But you did it anyway because you understood the only options were people who hated you.”
Many of these voters also know that the same people hate Trump as well. That may give them a bond with the president that can’t easily be broken by the latest storm or Stormy.